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Top Tips When Making A Career Change

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

There is a certain stigma about a career change, though I don't know why.

The idea that, in our late teens or early twenties, we know enough about ourselves and the world around us to decide on a 40-50 year career is laughable. But that’s the expectation.

Many get lucky and find a career they like or learn to enjoy, but for some, a change is needed to find that ‘forever career’. Which is absolutely fine. In fact, it’s better than fine - it is brilliant. You absolutely should make changes that help you feel happier and more fulfilled in your professional life.

If you do want to make a career change, here are 8 steps you can take to make the transition smoother.

people in yoga class

1. Understand why.

What is it that is driving you to make this career change? Is it happiness, a passion, money, or the belief that you can no longer be a parent/carer/you and pursue your current career?

If it’s the latter, I would encourage to look around and check before pursuing a career change. We work with many people who want to leave accounting or legal (for example) because they think they can’t pursue the career without working 80hr+ weeks. We then introduce them to a handful of companies that can offer various forms of flexibility, enabling them to be the accountant and parent that they want to be. In other words, be thorough in your assessment.

If it is something that you definitely want to do, really take the time to understand why. What are your key motivators? What is going to keep you pushing towards your goal even when all your strength is gone?

2. Understand what’s needed.

What skills, which qualifications (if any) and what experience will you need to make the transition?

Check to see if there is a governing body or qualifications for that industry such as CIPD for HR or ACCA/ACA etc for accounting.

Talk to someone already in the career to get their take on which qualifications to go for, and if they are really needed.

3. Understand the journey.

Different careers, different jobs, different industries move at different speeds. Research what your journey will look like, from training/apprenticeship to qualified to manager and beyond.

Make sure the journey matches your expectations, especially working hours, salary and career progression. Find answers to the questions “what’s the hardest thing about this career?” or “what’s the most stressful thing about this job?”

4. Identify your transferable skills and experience.

Knowing this and being able to sell them on your CV and in an interview will significantly improve your chances of making a successful career change.

Think logically through the new career and the journey, and identify common areas with your current career. This could be as straightforward as customer-service or account management experience, or it might be more obscure, like your marathon training has taught you discipline and shown what patience and persistence can achieve.

lady working at computer with 2 monitors, reading lines of code.

5. Gain work experience.

Nothing will show a future employer that you are committed to your new career like some voluntary work experience.

This might mean taking days off from your current job, or working evenings or weekends, but the time invested will be worthwhile. If possible, try to get some work experience before you spend any time or money on qualifications so you can be as sure as possible that this is what you want to do.

6. Get a CV that works.

Write a CV that highlights your work experience, qualifications and transferable skills and experience. In other words, write the CV for the job you want, and sell yourself. Don’t forget to take advantage of our free CV review service.

7. Practice the job interview.

And I mean really practice. Infront of the mirror, with your partner or friend, or book a 1-on-1 coaching session and we can do a mock interview with you. Develop answers to questions like “why do you want change careers?” or “why do you want to move into this career” that show your passion and enthusiasm for your new career.

8. Stay positive.

Changing careers is hard. It is an ultra-marathon and you will need strength, the right attitude, and the support of those around you to achieve it.

Remind yourself regularly why you are doing this, what your goals are, and keep moving forward every day.

For additional support, guidance or coaching then check out our support packages designed to help on your journey back to work, and to a job that you will love.

lady walking long and winding path

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